Vision Ears VE3
- Driver count: Three balanced-armature drivers
- Impedance: 18Ω @ 1kHz
- Sensitivity: 118dB @ 1mW
- Key feature(s) (if any): N/A
- Available form factor(s): Custom acrylic IEM
- Price: €1030
- Website: www.vision-ears.de
The VE3 is the most balanced IEM out of the whole line-up. It’s equipped with a frequency response targeted towards tonal accuracy; a linear curve that aims to sound as neutral-natural as possible. Any peaks or dips throughout the VE3’s signature are minimal at best, but that’s not to say the VE3 is analytical or boring. Due to subtle lifts in the mid-bass and upper-midrange regions, the VE3 carries a healthy amount of energy and dynamism in its presentation. Its linearity also produces a pitch-black background, which – when paired with its solid, bodied notes and minimal decay – significantly aids resolution, instrumental definition and realism.
The VE3 has an averagely-sized soundstage with similar levels of width, depth and height; creating a cube-like image. However, stellar stage organisation compensates for this. Instruments fill the stage unselfishly, and as a result, the VE3’s soundscape emanates a sense of order, effortlessness and finesse. The stage’s stability isn’t the best in the world – due to okay treble extension – but congestion is never a problem with this IEM. This is because the VE3 produces notes with great solidity and heft. Instruments – no matter how minor – neither sound thin nor hollow, and the warmth they radiate is merely there for organicity; never exceeding the thresholds of fullness.
The VE3 has a mildly accentuated bass. Compared to other IEMs which aim for reference or neutral signatures, the VE3 has a fullness and a warmth to its bottom-end. Instead of a dry and guttural bass, Vision Ears has opted for a wetter low-end with a focus on richness and impact. This can be attributed to its emphasis on the mid-bass. This tuning choice was made in favour of instruments like the bass guitar and the kick drum, before dipping in the upper-bass to avoid adding excessive heft to more melodic sounds. Average low-end extension means definition isn’t the best in the world – with more warmth present here than anywhere else in the frequency response – but the VE3’s bass is fun nevertheless, fuelled by a superbly rich tone and satisfying dynamic performance.
The VE3 presents a neutrally-placed midrange with a relatively even distribution between the lower-mids and the upper-mids. Vocals and instruments are distanced equally from the listener, crafting an even mix where no particular range is accentuated over the other. They carry neither a sense of recession nor a forwardness that takes away from less noticeable sounds. Midrange clarity is achieved through a slightly-elevated upper-midrange, particularly benefitting the articulation of fundamental notes. The VE3’s rich lower midrange then produces harmonics; endowing those notes with solidity and weight. Although the overtones do decay quickly for transparency’s sake, the VE3 does enough to avoid sounding thin and unnatural in the vocal range; more so than most of the competition boasting a similar signature.
The VE3 sports a linear, even-handed and fuss-free treble. Following its slightly elevated upper-midrange, the lower treble follows suit. A small bump in this region aids – again – articulation and detail retrieval, particularly of percussive embellishments; such as hi-hat foots, cowbells and shakers. After this hump, the VE3’s top-end begins falling off towards its highest registers. As a result, the VE3 maintains tonal accuracy, but sacrifices a sense of openness and air in the process. Despite the compromise, resolution and transparency benefit from this tone, contributing to the VE3’s sense of realism. Average extension hurts stage stability, taking away a crucial semblance of immersion (especially during long-term listening). But, in spite of this, the VE3’s treble should be commended for its restraint, favouring tone over precision; imbuing a welcome organicity into the overall presentation.
Who Is It For?
The VE3 would be most well-suited for audio professionals. In my line of work – where I mix and master tracks performed by ensemble bands three times a week – the VE3 is a great alternative to headphones when working on the go. Its linearity and set-in-stone stage dimensions make quick-mixing an absolute breeze in any environment. Audiophiles who enjoy balanced tunings or tonally-accurate signatures will also find pleasure in the VE3, and even veteran audiophiles who’ve dabbled in the high-end may favour it as a versatile back-up pair. Its unaggressive sound lends well to pretty much every genre under the Sun. The VE3 is a true jack of all trades, even if it is a king of none. Neither bass-heads nor treble-heads will really be satisfied with the VE3 – they should take a look at the VE4 and VE5, respectively – but the VE3 is a fantastic all-rounder for the price.